Just for Fun 2013

11th book in the series.

Publication year: 2001
Format: Audio
Publisher: Belinda Audio
Narrator: Stephanie Daniel
Running Time: 8 hrs and 5 minutes

The Honorable Phryne Fisher is a bit bored: life is good but her Chinese lover Lin Chung has been sent to China to buy silk. Then Detective Inspector Robinson asks Phryne to look into a suspicious death. Marcella Lavender has reported that someone is threating her and Robinson looked into the matter but didn’t find anything. However, now Lavender is dead and Robinson feels really guilty about it. Of course Phryne agrees to look into the matter.

Lavender wrote and illustrated children’s books, specifically fairy books. She also worked for the Women’s Choice magazine. She lived in a boarding house with a motley crew of other people and her house was decorated with fairies. She even inflicted garden gnomes on the hapless gardens. Phryne interviews her house mates without getting much clues. However, she’s invited to write for the Women’s Choice magazine and this gives her an excellent opportunity to investigate.

The book is pretty ordinary Phryne book until about the half-way point: funny and witty but showing also how people’s lives can be hard. However, about half-way through the book Phryne finds out that her lover has been kidnapped and the book’s tone for that plot becomes far more serious.

As usual, the book has a range of interesting characters. In addition to the usual cast, there are lot of new characters. It seems that miss Lavender wasn’t much liked. Her co-workers at the magazine aren’t grieving; they are focused on getting the next issue out. She wrote also the advice column for the magazine which widens the field of suspects.

I really enjoyed this one.

The tenth Phyrne Fisher mystery.

Publication year: 1999
Format: Audio
Publisher: Belinda Audio
Narrator: Stephanie Daniel
Running Time: 8 hrs and 01 minutes

The Honorable Phryne Fisher and her maid Dot Williams have traveled to Sydney for a holiday and some cricket. However, as soon as they arrive, a couple of nice young men beg Phryne to investigate “a horrible event”. It turns out that their friend, Adam Harcourt, is in serious trouble. Someone broke into the Dean of Arts’ safe and Harcourt is being accused of it. Even worse, some of the papers which have been stolen were found on Harcourt’s things. But other items remain missing, among them an old papyrus, the Dean’s wife’s rubies, and the Faculty books.

Even though Phryne has promised her maid Dot that their stay in Sydney would be a holiday, she agrees to look into the theft. After all, it’s not a murder. She immerses herself into Sydney’s academic life which turns out to be full of secrets and lies. She also gets to dip her toe into black magic.

Meanwhile, Dot visits her Joan who is married to an ironmonger and they have two kids. However, to her horror she finds out that her sister has vanished and everyone, especially her husband, thinks that she has run away with a lover. However, Dot is convinced that Joan wouldn’t leave her kids. Phryne is afraid that something horrible has happened to Joan but because of Dot Phryne will find Joan. The search takes them to the bohemian side of Sydney. While Phryne knows all about the Bohemia in Paris and Melbourne, she finds out that Sydney is a bit stranger..

We find out about Phryne’s old hobby: cricket. I have no idea if the cricket information in the book is historically true but the majority of Greenwood’s facts tend to be correct.

This time Phryne is away from her friends who usually help her with investigations. Dot is the only familiar supporting character. The new characters are entertaining enough, especially the artists. Phryne is looking for Joan among Sydney’s artists and night clubs, and they tend to be entertaining. However, I missed Phryne’s lover Lin Chung.

Another entertaining Phryne story.

The first B5 book which is set during the second season of the science fiction show Babylon 5, before Bester’s second appearance (A Race Through Dark Places).

Publication year: 1995 (during season 2)
Page count: 246
Format: print
Publisher: Boxtree

The Psi Corps are going to have a convention. At first, it was going to be held on Mars, in a luxury hotel but a new group of Martian terrorists blow it up. So, military liaison and telepath Harriman Gray (last seen in the episode “Eyes”) gets the bright idea to change it to Babylon 5. Captain Sheridan thinks it’s a fine idea and a chance to brighten the station’s rather mixed public image. Commander Ivanova and Security Chief Garibaldi can’t stop it, so 400 telepaths are going to come to Babylon 5, including mister Bester and Harriman Gray. Joy! Not.

Most of the telepaths coming to B5 are working in the commercial sector but about 100 Psi Cops and some military telepaths are coming, too. Harriman seems to have a huge crush on Ivanova and he almost stalks her. Talia Winters is happy to see other telepaths and she even gets a job offer which would take her away from B5.

I started giggling aloud when I realized what the premise was: it’s such a juicy idea. Of course, they couldn’t actually change anything so a fistfight between Ivanova and Bester was out but otherwise I expected to be very entertained. And mostly I was. I was a bit disappointed that when G’Kar had a fistfight with one of the telepaths in a bar, we saw only the aftermath but that was entertaining, too. Garibaldi giving a tour of the Down Below to the sheltered telepaths, and Talia, was great.

Harriman, Garibaldi, and Talia are the main POV characters. I was very interested to see more of Talia who I think was underused in the show.

The first half of the book is entertaining and the character interactions seem ok to me, except that a couple of time they changed their minds pretty quickly. However, the second half of the book isn’t set on B5 and we meet new characters. The characters’ moods and motivations change quickly and I was baffled by some of the choices they made. One group of people seemed pretty out of place to me.

Unfortunately, I was a bit distracted by Vornholt’s writing style. For some reason he tends to avoid using characters’ names and instead uses brief descriptions like “the young telepath” or “the statuesque woman”. Also, even I know that Mars isn’t a hot planet (and I was 100% Arts student). Vornholt also uses pretty juvenile humor.

Sadly, the book started promisingly but couldn’t live up to B5 standards I’m used to.

I’ve now signed up for my first reading challenge for 2013:

As bloggers we are all on timetables to read books, get reviews posted, host giveaways, etc.
But we also travel around to other blogs and see books we would just like to read because of their recommendation or the cover or title catches our interest. The Meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?” adds more books to my Wish List and To-Be-Read pile every week.

As followers you get our recommendations, win books from us, pick up books at the library or buy them at a store.
But our lives are so busy these books sometimes sit in our To-Be-Read piles for months or even years.
This is the third year I am hosting this challenge to
encourage you to read some of those books.
12 books in 12 months JUST FOR FUN!!!!!!!!!!

The challenge page is in GoodReads: http://www.goodreads.com/group/show/83915-just-for-fun-reading-challenge-2013

1, John Vornholt: Babylon 5: Voices
2, Kerry Greenwood: Death Before Wicket
3, Kerry Greenwood: Away with the Fairies
4, Kerry Greenwood: Murder in Montparnasse
5, Kerry Greenwood: Castlemaine Murders
6, Kerry Greenwood: Death by Water
7, Kerry Greenwood: Murder on a Midsummer Night
8, Jim C. Hines: Mermaid’s Madness
9, Kerry Greenwood: Earthly Delights
10, Kerry Greenwood: Heavenly Pleasures
11, Kristine Kathryn Rusch: Skirmishes
12, Kerry Greenwood: Devil’s Food

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